It’s top 10 time and I thought in honor of Batman v Superman I would focus on animated superheroes. As there haven’t been that many animated theatrical releases I opened it up to TV and anime and my initial list was 30 properties! You can imagine how difficult it was to narrow it down!
I am sure there are all kinds of opinions on favorite superheroes as many of them are attached to us from childhood but I did the best I could to look at legacy, animation quality and overall entertainment value. Here’s what I came up with:
I wanted to go with one vintage offering. Underdog ran on NBC in the 1960s and was the creation of W Watts Biggers. “There is no need to fear when underdog is here!” is Underdog’s mantra and he jumps into action when ever Sweet Polly is being threatened. Underdog also introduced the world to Tennessee Tuxedo and other animated characters and is a ton of fun.
9. The Tick
To go a little bit more adult let’s talk about The Tick. In many ways The Tick was ahead of its time. It parodied comic book and superhero culture much like shows such as Big Bang Theory are popular for now. Our blue hero took jabs at Batman, Aquaman, Hulk, Wonder Woman and more. Great voice talent from the likes of Townsend Coleman, Jess Harnell and Rob Paulsen as well as writing that still holds up and is very funny.
8. The Powerpuff Girls
In the world of superheroes girls have always gotten the short end of the stick. While that is hopefully changing, one bright spot on Cartoon Network was The Powerpuff Girls. A creation of Craig McCracken Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup battle evil all while dealing with their nerdy scientist father Professor Utonium. I always liked the colors and the geometric style of the animation. The voice acting by Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, EG Daily is also excellent. If you miss the girls a reboot is premiering this April 4th on Cartoon Network.
7. Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Animated Studios first film with Marvel became the first Marvel movie to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. Big Hero 6 tells the story of a teenage boy Hiro who loses his brother in a tragedy but his brother’s invention of a care robot named Baymax helps him form the Big Hero 6. This is a group of geniuses who face evil and get to the bottom of the tragedy. This film works because of the creativity of Sanfransokyo, emotion of Hiro and Tadashi’s relationship and the appeal of Baymax. The diversity of the six is also very appealing. A very enjoyable film.
6. Sailor Moon
I will probably get a certain degree of flack on this list for the lack of anime. I suppose it is a shortcoming of mine that I don’t watch as much anime as I should. One show I do know of is Sailor Moon and it belongs on this list. Kind of like The Powerpuff Girls, it provides a rare superhero team for girls but this is slightly older with Usagi Tsukino being in middle school. Usagi can transform into a Sailor Soldier called Sailor Moon and is joined by other soldiers to fight villains. The series did a good job growing up with her and keeps the animation bright and colorful.
5. Darkwing Duck
Part of the Disney Afternoon, Darkwing Duck is kind of like The Tick in its sarcastic take on the superhero genre. Drake Mallard has a secret alter ego of Darkwing Duck who is probably the most egotistical superhero I can think of. He loves attention but he also has to keep his identity a secret, which creates a lot of humor. Like The Tick, Darkwing satirizes superheroes like The Shadow, Green Hornet and Batman. Jim Cummings is amazing as Darkwing’s voice and Terry McGovern as Launchpad McQuack is also great.
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
There are many variations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but the one I chose (and honestly have seen) is the series that aired from 1987-1996. This was a series that many of us grew up with and where the Turtles became iconic. Most of the TMNT vernacular, styling and personalities for years to come is based on this show. You get Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Splinter, Shredder, April and a whole lot of pizza. I’m not saying every episode was great art but it was a lot of fun and had to make the list.
3. Rise of the Guardians
Definitely the most underrated entry on this list. I’m not sure why more people didn’t see DreamWorks Avengers Jr offering but I wish they had. Based on William Joyce’s series, Rise of the Guardians gathers the heroes of childhood–Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and co. and they must defeat villainous Pitch Black. The voice cast is tremendous. The animation is so beautiful and Jack Frost is a compelling character we empathize with. I really love it.
2. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
I debated about putting this in top place because I really do love it. I think it is the best version of Batman, live-action or animated. What I love about it is that it is one of the only Batman films to focus on Batman/Bruce Wayne as a character. The script is so well done with the relationship between Bruce and Andrea Beaumont at the core. Mark Hamill is great as The Joker and he isn’t quite as overwhelming to the film as other incantations of the character. The Shirley Walker score is perfect and the final scene where Alfred and Bruce talk about walking the fine line between good and falling into evil is sobering. You could also include Batman: The Animated Series as part of this choice as this is a spinoff.
1. The Incredibles
I felt like it was a bit predictable to have The Incredibles as number one but it’s the natural pick for a reason. Brad Bird does basically everything right in this film. It’s of course about a family of supers who try to hide who they are but as is always the case those identities come out and adventure awaits. Syndrome is a scary villain, Edna is hilarious, the family dynamic feels real, it all works. To me, it’s always been a message about work and how if you aren’t doing what you are meant to do you will be miserable. You must live an authentic life and that’s the main message of the film. I also love its portrayal of a marriage with conflict but always love. The animation is stunning, the music by Michael Giacchino is perfect. It’s in my top 15 animated films of all time so it had to be at the top spot.
So what do you think? What would you have included? Please put in the comments section. Thanks so much and keep on being a super Rotoscoper!
If you have any suggestions for future top 10 lists let me know.
Edited by: Morgan Stradling